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'Simpsons' look-alike contest draws blue-hair crowd


Investment adviser Richard Hitishew had two doughnuts, a big beer belly and a face millions of Americans recognize every Thursday as Homer Simpson.

His wife, Toni, had a beehive hair wig that screamed electric blue and a felt mask with two big bulging eyes. She was Marge in the flesh -- well, not exactly.

"She's trying to be a modern woman living with an old-fashioned man," said Mrs. Hitishew, a Catonsville teacher. "I'm a modern woman living with a modern man."

The couple and their three children were one of two families competing yesterday in a Simpsons look-alike contest, sponsored by Cover to Cover Bookstore Cafe at the Owen Brown Village Center. In honor of the contest, the cafe served such dishes as Lisa's Black Bean Soup, Homer's Pork Chops, Barney's Burger and Marge's Broccoli and Swiss Quiche. The bookstore gave out free Butterfinger candy bars, bratty Bart's favorite.

Count bookstore owner Marsha Berman as a big Simpsons fan.

"We watch it every week," she said. "If we're not there, we tape it. It's very clever entertainment to us."

The Hitishew's competition was Ellicott City's Whiteside family, who had given up playing street hockey and attending a karate open house to be in the contest.

"But it was worth it," said Annie Whiteside, wearing a head of blue yarn, a blue polka-dot dress and Marge's trademark white-beaded necklace.

"I feel like one of the duties of being a mother is to find fun things to do," said Mrs. Whiteside. "This is something we really wanted to do. You can play a street hockey game every Saturday, but how many times can you dress up?"

They borrowed the costumes from a friend whose family had dressed up as the Simpsons for Halloween.

Mrs. Whiteside's son, 11-year-old Chuck, wore a blue nightgown and a matching hair bow to play the part of Maggie, the pacifier-sucking baby with bulging eyes. "I always thought it was fun to be a baby girl, because I'm an older boy," he said.

He admires Crusty the Clown as well as Itchy and Scratchy and little sister Maggie. Although he also likes Bart, he says he's no resemblance to him. "I get better grades and I don't know how to skateboard," he says.

And he doesn't want to learn, either. "It's a dangerous sport," he said. "I like rollerblading and biking better -- and sometimes karate."

His 6-year-old brother, Luke, dressed in shorts and a blue T-shirt to play Bart. He had covered his face with gold makeup and had a crown felt hat to resemble Bart's hairdo.

The Whiteside's exchange student from Mexico, 18-year-old Patricia Hernandez, dressed as straight-laced Lisa. She wore a felt yellow-spiked 'do and gold makeup. For the bulging eye effect, she had cut a pingpong ball in half. She didn't like the offbeat cartoon when she first saw the show in Mexico, but now she loves it.

"They were strange," she said.

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